Fox Searchlight has just released the unbelievable trailer for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. The talented director reteams with Michael Fassbender for the third time.  But the heat is on  in the lead. This looks to be a career making performance. Screencaps after the jump.

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  • Jason B

    After Shame, I was a bit skeptical of this, but this looks 20 times better. And I’m happy it sounds like they used the proper version of “Journey To the Line” (from “The Thin Red Line”) at the end of the trailer instead of the rip-off that opened “Shame.”

  • steve50

    The trailer is amazing. It only hints at how McQueen will frame this and I think it’ll be stunning.

    This will make a household name of Ejiofor, and I can’t wait to see what Fassbender, Alfre W, and Cumberbatch (and Pitt) do under McQueen’s direction.

  • ferdi

    It seems powerful and wrenching but also a step towards a far more classical and traditional narrative form while Shame and, most of all, Hunger were artistic and avantguarde. Anyway I can’t wait to see this.
    Fassbender is the as always unbelievable and I’m truly happy to see the wonderful underrated Sarah Paulson here.

  • Manuel

    The film looks grand. Fassbender for a supporting nod and Ejiofor is well cast. He has such an expressive face!

  • Looks like you’re excited about this Sasha… that’s a good sign! The trailer is amazing and I cannot wait to see it in Toronto (fingers crossed), and monitor it’s success on the awards circuit this year!

  • ScottishJellyfish

    It appears we have our first big awards season runner.

  • Curtis

    Anybody who thinks this I’d not going to be big with amps is crazy.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Damn I came hard at the end.

    Looks…, well you saw it.

    I only hated the use of music from the TTSS trailer music but other than that, man. I love that it has a very distinct look from SHAME, the same way I loved how shamed differed from HUNGER like that. OK seeing it again now. I hope people don’t use this trailer to attack FRUITVALE STATION, you know how retarded that’d be right?

  • Jpns Viewer

    (Thanks for the ups, Sasha!)

    It looks promising to me. Some nice cinematography as well.

    So far it seems quite fruitful a year for African American movie-industry people, with 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station, etc. coming up — particularly in acting, writing and directing (at least to me it looks bright for now in these three or more departments).

    If the Butler, despite its cheesy trailer, is as good/great as it could be, not to mention creating the buzz about it at the end of the year or so … OH MAAAN! I can’t imagine how amazing this awards season is going to be for African American folks in the industry of cool [Crowe’s words, not mine]. (Good for them.)

    “Produced by BRAD PITT”

    Well, good for him, too. Good choice, I think, Brad. : )

  • Bryce Forestieri

    my thoughts exactly after seeing the trailer. i know it’ll be McQueen great but it does look like AMPAS could eat it up. Fingers crossed!

  • Jason B

    Before he becomes a household name, I’m going to have to hear Ejiofor spoken a few times. I’ve only seen it printed or in credits so I still don’t know how to say it.

    …which if someone is willing to type it out phonetically, much obliged.

  • Bball_Jake

    Can someone please tell me where Ive heard that score before from the beginning if the trailer! Its driving me insane not remembering haha.



  • Curtis

    Inception soundtrack. Hans Zimmer- Time

  • Gautam

    woww.. Steven McQueen is turning out to be truly a force to reckon with. His Shame was phenomenal, possibly that year’s best movie. Just going by the looks, this one is very similar to Django. But I guess, similarity ends just there because this seems like very heavy in its content.

    Sasha, while I agree that this might be a career turing performance for Chiwetel Ejiofor but the real deal here is again Fassbender. He appears only in couple of scenes but is menacing as hell. It would be interesting that people would compare him to Leo, considering both have similar roles, but I bet Fassbender will be better.

    His was the best performance the year Shame released but it’s a real shame that Academy chose to ignore him. This year I am putting my money on Fassbender to win Best Supporting Actor.

  • cineJAB

    I’ve never been a fan of Chiwetel Ejiofor, but he looks really great in this. I’m really stoked about this movie.

  • superkk

    alfie woodard is a great actress as well. given the size of her part she could very well “turn it up” at the awards season but yeah this looks very good. not trying to compare it to the butler but any means but trailer wise….it has it beat.

  • Scott (the other one)

    I am afraid that, to me, this trailer makes the movie look like a Stephen Spielberg Bid For Importance movie.

    McQueen’s direction and conception of Hunger and Shame were masterful: lean, focused, hypnotic, and challenging. This new one looks like Cheesefest ’13.

    I truly admire McQueen and sincerely hope I am wrong and that this is just a misleading trailer.

  • Rough informal phonetics:

    Chewə-Tell Edgy-əFor

    emphasis accent on the first syllable of each name ? the Tell might be accented syllable I’m not 100% sure. I’ve heard it both ways.

    Silent d in Edgy. I think the y in the phonetic Edgy is barely enunciated at all. But Edgy is the closest approximation

    you might search youtube for interviews with Mr Ejiofor — to listen to see how he’s introduced. That’s where I’m getting my ear for it.

  • Dede

    I feel the same way. I won’t go as far and call it a cheesefest. I hope it has that McQueen feel to it. Maybe the music is giving me Spielberg. The good thing about McQueen…and DOP Bobbitt is that they try not to repeat themselves. I still have high hopes for this film.

  • steve50

    Yes, it looks like a standard narrative set to music from another project, no question, to add the “importance factor”. The trailer is to get ’em in the theater – all of them, not just us (few) Hunger/Shame fans.

    If you listen to the dialogue snippets – each one we hear is specific to the characters’ 19th century social strata: the slave, the Bible-thumping slave owner, the foreign farmhand, and the educated Solomon.

    McQueen is an artist first, so it’s detail that will be between the trailer clips that will impress the most. I trust that we’ll smell the Spanish moss, feel the humidity, and look into more than one soul – like it or not – by the time he’s finished with us.

  • Radich

    I’m afraid I have to agree. I’ve seen the trailer a few times now, because I wanted to be wrong, and I still cannot feel the punch. Maybe because I’m expecting too much from this film. I LOVE Hunger, Shame and McQueen and Fassbender together, so I do trust something good will come out.

    I’ll be patient.

  • Nikki

    I’ve seen it and that’s just the trailer. Alfred Woodard has only one scene.

  • superkk

    nikki there are plenty of people who have been nominated for an academy award with only one scene? that still wont stop her from turning it up, shes just that good.

  • Geremy

    wow. I am blown away by this trailer, and even happier now for the date change. I cannot wait for this film, which I have little doubt will be my favorite of the year. The academy will be hard pressed not to finally award a black director next year.

  • Nikki

    If any actress is nominated it’s Lupita. I love Woodard, but honestly her one scene doesn’t really pack a punch or anything. Not saying she’s bad, but I honestly don’t think she’s getting nominated for this.

  • Jason B

    That seems like a logical pronunciation. I don’t trust how people are announced though, I’ve filmed too many interviews with people who fail to correct you until they’re off-camera, just to be polite… although polite would be not making the interviewer look stupid.

  • Jason B

    Sorry Curtis, it’s “Journey to the Line” by Hans Zimmer from THE THIN RED LINE. It’s very close sounding, but it’s most definitely that. Not to mention, McQueen showed a fondness for the composition in the opening of SHAME and had Harry Escott replicate it.

  • Jason B

    I’ve been meaning to see Hunger for some time now. And before I see this, I guess I owe Shame one more chance.

  • SallyinChicago

    Wow oh Wow, can’t wait.

  • SallyinChicago

    One of the Academy voters gave an interview on how he voted. And he did not vote for Quevanchy(?) Wallis because of her name. “Who can pronounce her name?”
    What if Mr. Ejiofor is nominated for an Oscar, which is likely. What of that Academy voter and others? Oh BTW, he was the star in the movie Kinky Boots and gave a great performance….Kinky Boots the musical just won a Tony.

  • joeyhegele

    I have been looking forward to this trailer for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Unlike some folks around here, I thought Shame was amazing. Of course Fassbender’s performance deserved all the praise it received, but I was also really impressed with Steve McQueen’s directing. It looks like he brought the same passion and beauty to 12 Years A Slave. Along with Gravity, this is the film I am most looking forward to this year.

    2013 really is going to be an amazing year for black filmmakers. I would just ask Sasha and Ryan that you do not make the mistake I have seen at other websites where folks are referring to Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Idris Elba as “African-American.” I am not sure why some people in this country refer to all black people as “African-American” even though they are not U.S. citizens. I do not think AwardsDaily has ever made this faux pas, but several other sites have and it is just really insulting.

    I do thank both of you for celebrating diversity (in terms of gender, race, sexuality, etc.) in cinema. Hopefully the Academy will get the message and the upcoming batch of nominees will be more than just the usual straight, white, men.

  • This looks good. I had forgotten what it’s like to see an entire cast of people just being characters instead of ACTING. This looks heavenly.

  • Houston Roderick

    Steve McQueen will totally win best director for this. That race is over haha

  • Chistophe

    it’s on! it’s on! the oscar race has finally started!

  • Joao Mattos

    Venice next winner of the Leone D’Oro or the Copa Volpi for Best Actor (curiously, Fassbender and Pitt won this trophy in recent years).

  • Bball_Jake

    No not the very begginning, i want to know the score that starts at the 43 second mark of this trailer. Ive got to know!

  • Bball_Jake

    Nevermind, i remembered! Its from the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy trailer.

  • The Jack

    It’s actually from The Wolfman, and was used (to better effect) in the trailer for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

  • Bball_Jake

    Oh okay, I havent seen The Wolfman.

  • Mik

    Looks magnificent.

  • murtaza

    looks good, maybe McQueen’s best attempt but Fassbender will steal the show and maybe an Oscar, that being a very deserving one.

  • There’s an interview with Michael Fassbender who says Chiwetel’s name. I trust this interview the most of all.

  • rufussondheim

    Glad to see they included Lupita N’yongo (sorry I probably mangled the spelling) along with the other actors, which shows they probably are thinking of pushing her for an awards run. Her role, Patsy, really is the key female role (if the book is adhered to).

    This is one case where I believe trailers are useless in determining the worth of a film.

  • Roger the Shrubber

    Who wants to bet that this and/or “Fruitvale Station” will be the “Do the Right Thing” to “The Butler”‘s “Driving Miss Daisy”?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    I know you’ve read the book, from what this really commercial trailer lets us see -it’s one of those frenetic ones- it does seem like it’s gonna be pretty faithful. I’d say that’s the case for 80%+ of trailers. I thought LES MIZ looked pretty decent when the trailer came out and then I almost died from asphyxiation in the theater. Tendency: trailers are useless and detrimental.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    DRIVING MISS DAISY is a good movie, THE BUTLER looks like-hopefully fun- trash. You ought to rethink that probably.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    From what I saw in the trailer, it’s gonna really hard for anyone to steal Ejiofor’s show. He seems to killing it, hitting it out of the park, as in the likely winner of numerous critics and industry awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and I include the Academy Award.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Oh yeah yeah, that movie Romanek pussified and then left.

  • Cameron

    Going out on a limb here:

    Supp. Actor

  • knee play

    “Unbelievable”? Looks solid but disappointingly average.

  • Let’s remember how we all groaned and cringed when the first trailer for Scorsese’s Hugo looked like standard slapstick holiday fare.

    Trailers aren’t art, they’re advertisements. The first ones are meant to raise awareness. They offer up familiar common denominators in order for potential ticket-buyers to get comfortable with something that’s easy to grasp.

  • I’ll see your 8 nominations and raise the ante by 2

    Adapted Screenplay
    Supporting Actor
    Art Direction

  • jwright40

    That’s score is not ‘Inception,’ it’s ‘Thin Red Line,’ folks. First used in a trailer for, uh, ‘Peal Harbor’:

  • thespirithunter

    Great to see Ejiofor finally getting some due. Did anybody see him in Dirty Pretty Things? Go rent it. I liked his character in Serenity as well.

  • julian the emperor

    Exactly, this trailer may look a bit too…well…Spielberg, but you have to lure in an audience of a certain magnitude to be a credible awards player (and I think it’s safe to say that the studio think of this as a possible major contender). It would be surprising, though, if the finished film doesn’t bear the insignia of its director and he is – after all – an uncompromising and brave artist. Therefore, even though the trailer doesn’t impress and doesn’t bear the hallmarks of a Shame or a Hunger, I expect this film to deliver a strong, brutal and visceral thrill of a movie that won’t be bogged down by didactic concerns or a sense of solemnity.

  • knee play

    Oh I completely agree. I was just questioning if the trailer was really “unbelievable” since it looks like 90% of trailers. I look forward to the film and am sure it’ll be great based on the director’s previous work. The trailer itself, however broad audience-friendly, doesn’t merit much praise.

  • “Did anybody see him in Dirty Pretty Things?”

    I have it queued up to watch tonight! From the first 20 minutes it’s easy to see I should be ashamed for not catching it sooner.

  • Joao Mattos

    In the year that all the Best Actor choices from critics group went to Bill Murray for “Lost in Translation”, or Sean Penn in “Mystic River”,the dudes from the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards gave Ejiofor Best Actor and “Dirty” Best Movie.

    If my memory is not betraying was the only exception in the duel Penn x Murray. And that make me pay attention to the choices of San Diego since. They have some unorthodox (Michelle Monaghan for “Tucker”, Brit Marling for “Another Earth”) and very interesting ones.

  • Keil S.

    If it stars those people why am I looking at Brad Pitt?

  • Preach it Joeyhegele, thank you for pointing that out. Our lazy American society sees anyone with dark skin and want to ignorantly and automatically call them AA. Not all American blacks what to be referred to as such, including myself. But with that all said, I will be watching this award season closely. I want my Irish/German boy to win big, but I also want good things for McQueen and other well deserving minority talents.

  • Thanks Ryan for reminding people that a trailer is just that…a TRAILER, not the actual film.

  • Jason B

    Thanks, jwright40. I thought I was going crazy because everyone kept saying Inception. I thought my ears were failing me.

  • Tony

    I saw “Dirty Pretty Things” in the theater. (Where DOES a decade go?) He was fantastic in it. I just might go pop in the DVD right now.

  • Tony

    Tangent: Sergi Lopez (from both “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”) really excels at playing creeps and bad guys. If anyone hasn’t already, check him out in the French film “With a Friend Like Harry.”

  • Aaron

    One of my most anticipated of the year. McQueen is 2/2 for me and this looks stunning. I have read from several people that the film is much more brutal and graphic than the trailer is leading us to believe. But this seriously has to be one of the most impressive casts of the year, right?

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    Alfre Woodard looks like she hasn’t aged a day in 30 years.

  • Bball_Jake

    The Butler will be loved by the critics, and will most likely be nominated for Best Picture. I see 12 Years, and Fruitvale missing out on Best Picture nominations.

  • rufussondheim

    It’s impossible for me to say how good Lupita N’yong’o is in this film, but I cannot stress enough, the part is extraordinarily baity. Anyone who is predicting 8 to 10 nominations for this film and not including one for Best Supporting Actress is off the mark. But McQueen is a smart man, I doubt he cast a bad actress for this pivotal role, and I bet she has the stuff to get that nomination.

  • SpillinT

    Chiwetel is AMAZING in Dirty Pretty Things. How he flew so under the radar for awards consideration that year still irks me. Easily one of the 5 best performances that year (and probably top 10 of the decade).

  • SpillinT

    This will be everything Django wasn’t. And a big FU to Quinten Tarantino for acting like the “master of depicting American slavery.” I don’t put ANY faith in the Academy, but if McQueen is ignored again, there needs to be some MAJOR adjustments in voting.

  • Redfox48

    This movie is not going to beat Clooney and company.

  • thespirithunter

    Let me know when you get to the outstanding ending look on Ejiofor’s face and his fantastic last line, Ryan.

    I am somewhat flabbergasted that someone with your knowledge and experience in film let that one go. Good to know I can be of some benefit around here.

  • I am somewhat flabbergasted that someone with your knowledge and experience in film let that one go.

    Dirty Pretty Things came out while I was living in Bangkok for 7 years. There a big out-of-touch chasm in that period that I’m still filling in.

  • Jason B

    Ignored again?! He’s only made one feature film worth nomination. Shame had a great lead, but that was the only consensus that film was going to receive. His first film was masterful and as a debut, likely to be ignored by the Academy.

    Shame more so than Hunger showed a director who makes brilliant shorts but cannot structure a feature. However, 12 Years might prove to be his breakout moment since the screenplay burden has been lifted from him and his sensibilities are better suited as a director.

  • steve50

    …cannot structure a feature. By whose standards and parameters?

    If most of us fear anything here, it’s that his viceral style will be constricted by having to make a feature structured to “shake his money-maker”.

  • Ignored again?! He’s only made one feature film worth nomination.

    BAFTA would disagree.

  • Niles

    Very powerful trailer

  • Jason B

    “If most of us fear anything here, it’s that his viceral style will be constricted by having to make a feature structured to “shake his money-maker”.”

    It amazes me how everyone assumes any criticism of a gifted filmmaker means they want to commercialize him.

    In fact, I wish he took more chances with Shame, but the whole film seems tame and inert if it weren’t for Fassbender’s ability to convey more complexity than the film itself wills of him.

    As for structure, I think we’ve had this debate 80 times already Steve and I don’t think we’ll agree on it though I’d prefer to hear your opinion why it works because I don’t think you’ll jump to the usual response I get from Shame fans of how obviously brilliant the film is”. Hunger was a more thoroughly conveyed film so let’s only take the case of Shame, did the film benefit from its 1hr 40 min runtime? For me, I believed it forced the narrative to rely too much on his sister’s plot, which I found to be overemphasized. There was a point where it simplified the main character too much. If I had his boss and sister, I’d be depressed like him too. But he was far more interesting the more distanced I was to him.

  • Jason B

    The only thing I’ll say about this is that everyone here is likely skeptical of the Academy’s choices, so I don’t think BAFTA has that much of an advantage.

    McQueen is a talented director, I never denied that. I am more excited, though, to see him direct someone else’s material to contribute an objective lens to the story.

  • steve50

    I think we’ve had this debate 80 times already

    Ahh – and I hope it continues, Jason, because your comments are thoughtful and sharp. You’re correct – I do assume that commercialism is the goal when people criticize certain directors becuase that’s usually true.

    I think the idea in Shame was to give Brendan a troubled past in the form of someone he could really do nothing about or get away from – in this case, his sister. You’re right, the film could have gone in a different – perhaps shorter – direction, but I don’t know that the point would have been made as directly or even if the title would have been as appropriate. Their relationship is the burr in his psyche that he can’t -or for obvious reasons, is afraid to remove.

    Shame was a tougher go because there was no cause or sense of heroism or outrage as there was in Hunger, only discomfort and an unending itch.

    I see your point on 12 Years, though. He’s got a meaty story and only needs to focus on directing.

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